Rob Salkowitz, a Seattle-based author of “Comic-Con and the Business of Pop Culture,” says Marvel probably knew Parker’s demise would become headline news this week because the character is an icon well known “outside the bubble of comic fans.” Comics publishers routinely look for ways to catch readers off guard in an effort to show that they are not neglecting their creative duties, adds Mr. Salkowitz.
“To keep those characters fresh, [publishers] have to churn through new ideas pretty quickly, and they have to give readers the impression [that] big changes are happening … [so] every so often they drop a boulder in the pond and create waves just to keep people interested,” he says.
The decision to kill off Parker is intended to renew interest in the character and to create new story lines for the future, Dan Slott, writer of the last 70 issues of “The Amazing Spider-Man,” told The Associated Press Thursday. In the final issue, Spider-Man finally falls to longtime nemesis Doctor Octopus, known as Otto Octavius to his mother.
“This is an epic turn.… Every now and then, you have to shake it up," Mr. Slott said. "The reason Spider-Man is one of the longest-running characters is they always find a way to keep it fresh. Something to shake up the mix.”